LOS ANGELES — While many nations throughout the world already have made significant strides toward the development of their high-speed rail networks, the United States has taken a more measured approach to improving passenger rail service. However, with approximately $8 billion in funds dedicated to jump start high-speed rail projects (from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February 2009), the discussion no longer is whether high-speed rail will gain traction in the United States, but rather how soon and where.

In a just-released, eight-part video series, a panel of AECOM executives comprising high-speed rail, transportation planning, intermodal, and financing/delivery experts explores the complex issues that surround the development of high-speed rail in the United States. The panel addresses the rationale for high-speed rail, technical and operational challenges, coalition building, funding arrangements, and winning public support for high-speed rail programs.

The AECOM panelists include:
•Al Engel, vice president and high-speed rail director;
•Raymond Ellis, Ph.D., managing director, alternative delivery group;
•Rachel Vandenberg, vice president, intermodal practice; and
•Robert Lepore, senior vice president, North American transportation planning.

“AECOM’s years of experience in the rail industry provide a rich and broad perspective to the conversations about high-speed rail currently taking place throughout the world,” said Engel. “In particular, the development of high-speed rail networks in the United States faces unique challenges requiring strong political leadership, innovative approaches to financing, balanced concern for multiple constituencies and fully engaged technical experts throughout what will be a decades-long program. We are pleased to participate in this dialogue and to share our thoughts as the United States high-speed rail program evolves.”

The video series can be seen at AECOM’s website. In addition, AECOM’s real-time high-speed rail insights are available at the transportation business line’s Twitter channel.